Refugee Resources

Webinar: Sexual health and mental health of LGBTQI refugees

Organized by the Rainbow Coalition of Refuge and Rainbow Refugee Society in the Spring of 2023, this webinar focuses on the unique and particular challenges of LGBTQIA refugees, their sexual and mental health related needs and available resources. 

Orientation to LGBTQI migration in Canada: Rights, pathways and issues

Learn about the history, Private Sponsorship through the Rainbow Refugee Assistant Partnership (RRAP) , Blended Visa Office-Referred Program (BVOR), Complementary Pathways and the journey of LGBTQI refugees from their country of origin to resettlement in Canada. Organized by the Rainbow Coalition for Refuge and recorded on March 10th, 2023.

Please use the Passcode 4U4$n6qq to listen the webinar. 

LGBTQIA+ Privately Sponsored Refugees and Newcomers - Support & Challenges

This webinar is part of a series of knowledge exchange events organized as part of the activities of Allies in Refugees Integration (ARI) program of OCASI. It focuses on discussing the intersectional global and Canadian contexts of LGBTQIA+ and the gaps in service provision and ways to improve the support provided to LGBTQIA+ refugees. Guest speakers include: 

Martha Singh Jennings, Director of Housing, Advocacy and Support Services, The 519

Paige Mac Lean, Program Officer, Complimentary Pathways, Rainbow Railroad

Bill Croson , Private Sponsor of LGBTQIA+ refugees

LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers: A review of research and data needs

Published in July 2022, this study reviews existing literature to examine the experiences of LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers, including root causes of migration, barriers to claiming asylum, and arrival and resettlement challenges.

Rainbow Railroad Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSR)

Rainbow Railroad’s Private Sponsorship Program (PSR) collaborates with organizations and settlement teams to support newcomers.

Support for newcomers typically span a year, at approximately CAD $23,000 for their first year in Canada. The Government of Canada provides 3-6 months of financial support, depending on the program and case. The remaining financial supports (in the range of CAD$12,000 and $16,000) is provided by settlement teams with support from Rainbow Railroad. This is usually done through collaborative fundraising efforts.

Rainbow Railroad provides support through the application processes in addition to offering resources to help the LGBTQI+ newcomer resettle and adjust to their life in Canada. Settlement teams are integral to newcomer adjustment.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Youthline

“LGBT Youth Line is a Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit youth-led organization that affirms and supports the experiences of youth (29 and under) across Ontario.” They help youth through, providing anonymous peer support and referrals, training youth to provide support to other youth, and providing resources so youth can make informed decisions. 416-962-YOUTH (9688).

They do this by

a. providing anonymous peer support and referrals;

b. training youth to provide support to other youth; and

c. providing resources so youth can make informed decisions.

Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit OCASI Webinar

Webinar presentation by Nicholas Hersh (he/him) an immigration and refugee lawyer at Community Legal Services of Ottawa and Capital Rainbow Refuge. He has extensive experience working with SOGIESC newcomers and has developed the Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit. OCASI hosted the webinar to assist service providers to better help people claiming refugee protection based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and/or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC). For more information, please contact Nicholas at

Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit

Created by Ottawa-based Capital Rainbow Refuge, this toolkit aims to assist individuals claiming refugee protection based on SOGIESC by: Learning about the refugee claim process in Canada based on SOGIESC; Writing a complete and correct narrative about their life experiences; Collecting evidence that may best support their claims; and Addressing common misunderstandings about SOGIESC refugee claims in Canada. The QRHP Toolkit is free and available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. You can download the complete Toolkit, or specific sections. There is also an interactive version available on a safe and secure online platform.

Refugee Claims Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: an Annotated Bibliography


This annotated bibliography gives an account of legal and social sciences research sources related to refugee claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bibliography, which focuses primarily on English language publications, includes close to 200 items that fall into the following two categories of research sources: 

(1) scholarly publications on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees and asylum-seekers and the refugee determination process; 

(2) reports from international, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations on the same topic. 

Research sources are first organized topically according to the definition of a Convention refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. As a second listing, a geographical classification is provided of the sources that focus on specific countries or regions. Finally, included is an alphabetical listing by author of all of the research sources we were able to locate for this project.


Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants

The Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide is for refugee claimants and their service providers. It educates, guides, and supports refugee claimants who are preparing for their refugee hearings. It informs and empowers service providers in their understanding of the refugee hearing preparation process. And, refugee claimants and service providers learn about essential legal issues pertaining to refugee protection.

In it, you can:

  • learn key refugee legal issues
  • track your refugee claim on the right timeline
  • learn strategies to help prepare for your refugee hearing
  • complete the hearing preparation checklist
  • get answers to frequently asked questions
  • find legal and community resources in Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area